Ye gads, I enjoyed drinking a bowl of Sopa de lima when I was in Belize. It’s a Mexican dish, apparently, but who really cares?
When I got home I immediately tried to find a recipe that closely matched the ingredients I identified in the dish I bought, but soon found that there are hundreds of variations, many of which bear no resemblance to the one I’d devoured.
I tried to make guacamole for the first time this morning but was deeply let down by the ‘ripe and ready to eat avocados’ being so hard that the stones almost refused outright to pop from the delicious green flesh. With that in mind I hoped for more success with the soup.
I found this recipe here but I get the feeling that that might not be the original location so sorry to the original chef, but I’ve done my best to credit you! I’ve made very slight alterations to make it look a bit more like the one I ate in Belize. Here’s a pic of how it came out, and below is the recipe.
9 cups chicken broth
5 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, quartered
1 large red onion, cut into very thin strips
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons dried oregano (use Italian herb mixtures if you live in Britain and can’t find pure oregano because it’s largely oregano anyway [is there an oregano famine?])
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
5 green onions, chopped
1 large green chilli pepper, seeded and chopped
2 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
6 limes, juiced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
1. Bring the chicken broth, chicken breasts, red onion, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and thyme to a boil in a large pot; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the chicken breasts are no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, 15 to 20 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C). Remove the cooked chicken to a cutting board and shred into bite-sized strips; return to the simmering pot.
2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat; cook the green onions and green chile pepper in the hot oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir the tomatoes into the mixture and continue cooking until soft, about 5 minute more; pour the mixture into the pot with the chicken soup. Season with the salt; return the soup to a simmer. Add the lime juice and 1/2 a lime; cook another 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and remove the lime half; stir in the cilantro to serve.
The result is a slightly spicy but deliciously tangy chicken soup. It took me about half an hour to put together and it looked like the picture above, which isn’t a million miles away from the one I had in the restaurant (see the image below). To get it looking exactly as the original I would briefly pound the chicken breasts thinner and fry them on a skillet until browned, THEN I’d add them to the broth. The eagle-eyed among you will probably spot the one slither of carrot I had in there, thinly sliced bell pepper, and zucchini/courgette as well. Plus I reckon the restaurant cheated and used powdered coriander instead of fresh, as I did.